Illuminate International Youth Of Unity (YOU) Virtual Event July 9-12 2020
To create an inclusive community of love and support where people are inspired to learn and grow spiritually, and experience an understanding of their endless potential.
Session 1: Thursday, July 9 - 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Session 2: Friday, July 10 - 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Session 3: Saturday, July 11 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Session 4: Saturday, July 11 - 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Session 5: Sunday, July 12 - 12:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
This year Jeff Lucana attended his very first IYOU Event. Due to Covid - 19 both Jeff and Helen Vaughn, Director of Youth and Family Ministry at Unity Gainesville were able to attend this event from the comfort of their own homes, but were still able to feel the spiritual connection of oneness nationwide and all the way to Trinidad, too.
Jeff would like to share this experience with Unity of Gainesville in his own words.....
Instead of meeting at the traditional location in Unity Village, Lee Summit Missouri, I understand that the event went virtual, though it did not stop me from learning so much and meeting so many different people. Each of the five 5 virtual sessions were a joy to attend, I attended workshops, a time to let my mind be immersed in connecting with a host spiritually, announcements of new Unity programs, and musical concerts. Bob Sima and his wife Shannon opened and closed the event with music and meditation.
I believe a huge highlight of these sessions were the family group meetings. These were times where each participant would be split into groups with a youth leader. In every session, we would meet in the same group for spiritual bonding time. Each day’s session revolved around a theme, such as Recognize, Navigate, Inspire, Trust, or Radiate. The family group meeting revolved around the same theme and took a deeper dive into each spiritual concept.
When I began, the whole event was very new to me, and I had to get used to the way things worked. This meant becoming familiar with all the wonderful participants, leaders, and Regis. One Regi, Amellia, was from the SE region and was the leader of Helen's family group. At first when I met up with my family group, I did not expect to grow too close to them. But as the weekend proceeded, I began to grow closer with each of the family group members as we shared activities, heart talks and discussions together. I was reminded of my weekly regional Sunday lessons and family groups I have joined throughout the time of sheltering in place, participating in spiritual activities and discussions as well.
Toward the last day of the conference, I started having thoughts of sorrow, for I would miss my family group. I quickly steered those thoughts away because I was starting to notice the meaning behind such an event as IYOU. From the warming messages in the chats and the laughter and love my group shared, I realized IYOU was a time to bring Unity members from all around the globe to live and learn with one another as a community. The way we grow is by making bonds, and IYOU is full of it. I am so thankful that I was able to attend such a wondrous event like IYOU. It is one like no other.
Thank you Unity leaders and managers for making this event possible amid the era of COVID-19 we are living in. I understand how hard it can be to live nowadays, but the way this virtual event was delivered not only impressed me, but filled me with joy knowing that we can still bond with one another peacefully amid the circumstances. With this, I am eager to say that I very much look forward to next year’s IYOU. I know it will be filled with more joy, more lessons, and more warm feelings just as this year’s did. Thank you, Unity of Gainesville, SE region and IYOU for making this possible.
One outcome from this conference is a new team being developed to reach out to teens world wide to seven international outposts. Jeff is applying to join this team and Unity of Gainesville and the SE Region give him our blessing and support him in this endeavor. We look forward to hearing more about this outreach in the future.
Jeff has very strong hopes for IYOUA, the idea of coming together with Unity youth programs around the world is an idea so big, and so revolutionary. A program such as this can greatly impact the perspectives of youth and what we share world wide with the Unity Movement. For the IYOU Ambassadors Program, Jeff hopes with ambition that this program will flourish in its projects for youth, the people, and its vision and mission to bring the world closer in community, in love and in peace. We expect great things from Jeff and this program.